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Tips for Marketing Around Lunar New Year

2 MINUTE READ | January 16, 2020

Tips for Marketing Around Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Rat!

Editor’s Note: New developments about the Wuhan Coronavirus have put many consumers on edge, with millions essentially quarantined in place. As with any health crisis, marketers should be sensitive to the situation.

On January 25th, approximately 1.5 billion people around the world will celebrate the Lunar New Year, sometimes known as the Chinese New Year. A major occasion in several countries, but nowhere is it celebrated more than in China. Regardless of trade tensions between the U.S. and China, brands rightly see the Lunar New Year as a major selling opportunity. 

If your brand is considering jumping into the fray, here are some simple recommendations on how to effectively pull off an authentic and respectful Lunar New Year’s campaign:

  • Focus on the family, especially around coming together again. This could relate to the massive migration within China, or reconnecting abroad by Chinese travelers or those in the diaspora.

  • Use characteristics of the zodiac animal that’s celebrated. In 2020, it’s the rat, and in 2021, it’s the ox. Do more than just use a photo, though, as consumers will appreciate the extra thought and effort.

  • Remember that the Chinese speak more than Mandarin. Many Chinese overseas, as well as in Hong Kong, speak Cantonese. The best bet is to localize the dialect by the audience.

  • Start early, and remember to go the distance. Asian consumers do a ton of shopping before the actual holiday (to the tune of $146B in 2018, according to ChannelAdvisor). And remember that celebrations go for several weeks. Brands like, Adidas, and EcoWorld have campaigns been running weeks before the actual holiday.

  • Make sure WeChat and Weibo are pillars of your messaging plan. This is essential, and if your agency partner hasn’t included both in their proposal, find a new partner.

Using a Western-centric template will not create resonant messaging with Chinese (or other Asian) consumers. The good news is that the principles of localization, market authenticity, and audience-centric design can and will lead to success if brands are assiduous about it.

Happy Year of the Rat!


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Posted by David Gong

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